The Saline Valley Farms, a farm cooperative on nearly 1000 acres, 3½ miles south of town, was begun by Harold S. Gray in 1932. Oral historian James Cameron has written, "(The venture) attracted struggling families during depression years. Over one hundred members lived with their families on site and worked cooperatively to operate a dairy, orchards, poultry house, and gardens. Success mushroomed as members developed a store at the farm to sell to the public and used delivery vans to bring fresh produce and canned goods to Detroit and the suburbs. By the mid-1950s, with the death of the cooperative's founder and a recovering economy and job market, second generation members of SVF families were attracted to life other than farming." It should be noted that most of the residents came to SVF from outside the Saline area, but many these families opted to remain in our area after the Valley Farms closed down. (Cameron)
During World War II, some of Saline's young women went to work in what was termed the "Bomber Plant". Henry Ford had constructed and was operating a huge plant at Willow Run, where airplanes were produced for the government. Breaking into what was normally thought of as a man's world, these women worked side by side, doing whatever job was necessary. Collectively, they were known as Rosie the Riveter. Many of these women had husbands or other relatives in the military and this was their way of helping the war effort and, at the same time, earning money to keep their homes together. Though not on the same pay scale as men, these women earned good wages and life was never the same after that experience.
Jim Cameron is a history teacher in Saline High School and the author of the book Voices Over the Valley and oral history of Saline Valley Farms 1932-1953. The book is filled with details about the "experiment", many people still living in Saline.
Come out and see the cottages and barns and watch the new development grow.